Can you explain the terms CVT and torque converter?

My wife and I are both nearly 70. I don't understand the terms 'CVT' and 'torque converter'. What matters to us is how hill starts are carried out. Could you please spare the time to explain?

Asked on 15 September 2012 by MM, via email

Answered by Honest John
A torque converter is a traditional automatic. Most will ‘hold’ a car on a hill by churning fluid between two paddled drums. A CVT is a clutched, continuously variable transmission and whether it will hold on a hill or not depends on the type of clutch, which may be torque converter or electromagnetic.

The answer to hill starts with any automatic is to use both feet. As you release the brake with your left foot you accelerate with your right, which also enables you to brake instantly if a problem occurs.
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